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Broadlume | Mar 3, 2022

The Flooring Retailer's Playbook (Pt. 1)

It’s no secret that the past couple of years have been really difficult for the flooring industry. 

Repeated price increases from manufacturers; unfair competition from big box stores (who were allowed to stay open while independent retailers weren’t); backorders of all kinds; too few leads to work with, followed by too many leads to deal with—the list goes on and on.

And now, since so much of our daily lives has transitioned to the internet, brick-and-mortar stores have been left to fend for themselves.

And to be honest, we’re tired of it.

That’s why we’ve created this: The Flooring Retailer's Playbook for 2022. Consider this playbook your secret weapon, with everything you need to in order to beat the box stores and take your business to a level it’s never reached before. 

In this guide, we’ll show you how to leverage digital tools you already have at your disposal—tools you might not know you even have—to supercharge your flooring store. 

Ready? Let’s get started!

Chapter 1: Facebook Ads and Your Flooring Business—What You Need to Know

If you’re a flooring retailer and you’re not already using Facebook Ads, there’s never been a better time to start. Why? Facebook is much more than just a place to share cute videos of cats—it’s an unmatched tool for driving traffic, sales, and brand awareness.

Why Are Facebook Ads So Important?

According to the Pew Research Center, an estimated 69% of US adults use Facebook. A full 75% do so on a daily basis. And these numbers are only continuing to grow.

You probably already have a Facebook page for your flooring business (and if not, you should make one ASAP). It’s an excellent way to create an online presence and connect with your customer base. 

A Facebook page alone, however, does not give you the ability to reach potential clients. And without the ability to target potential customers—particularly those interested in new flooring or who live in areas you serve—it’s very difficult to grow your customer base, spread brand awareness, or drive new sales. For this, you need to use Facebook Ads.

How Do Facebook Ads Work?

Using its wealth of data and endless segmentation options, the Facebook Ads program allows you to display specific advertisements to targeted groups of Facebook users. You can target extremely broad or extremely specific groups of Facebook users, depending on your preferences. 

For example, you could display an ad to anyone living in the entire state of Florida. Alternatively, you could display an ad to men, ages 39-42, living within 5 miles of Sarasota, FL, who have an interest in home improvement and who have searched for new floors within the last 30 days. With Facebook Ads, it’s all possible. 

Additionally, you can display your ads in any number of locations on Facebook itself. Desktop news feed, mobile news feed, the right sidebar, even within Instagram.

The right sidebar and the newsfeed are two of the most common choices, but again, it’s up to you.

How Do I Purchase Facebook Ads?

Advertisers can purchase Facebook Ads in a number of different ways: CPM (cost per mille, or the price you pay per 1,000 impressions), CPC (cost per click), and CPL (cost per like).

It just depends on the goal of your ad campaign. For example, if your goal is to drive traffic to your website, you’ll most likely be charged on a “CPC” or “Cost Per Click” basis. This means that every time a user clicks on your ad, you’ll be charged a certain amount.

How Much Do Facebook Ads Cost?

Regardless of the type of ads you purchase (CPM, CPC, or CPL), the cost you’ll be charged depends on how competitive your target audience is. The more advertisers competing to show ads to a target audience, the more money those ads will cost. This is referred to in Facebook Ads as an auction-type purchase.

Let’s revisit our examples from the section above. If you wanted to show an ad for a competitive market—say used cars—to anyone living in the entire state of Florida, you would probably have a lot of competition. Therefore, the CPC would be relatively high.  

If you wanted to display an ad to men, ages 39-42, living within 5 miles of Sarasota, FL, who have an interest in home improvement and who have searched for new floors within the last 30 days, the CPC would be much lower.

The Anatomy of Facebook Ads

First things first: if you haven’t already synced your Facebook Business Page and Facebook Ads account through Facebook’s Business Manager, do so. Business Manager is the best way to keep all your tools and information in one easy-to-find place. 

You may also want to think about installing a Facebook Pixel. This is a small piece of code that, when added to your website, allows Facebook to keep track of who is visiting your site (for ad targeting and optimization purposes). 

Regardless of whether or not you install a pixel, however, Facebook Ads are managed on 3 levels. From general to specific, they are:

The Campaign Level

This refers to your overall ad campaign. A campaign can contain many ad sets, each of which can contain many individual ads. At the campaign level, you choose your overall objectives (driving traffic vs. online conversions, etc.), your overall budget, your campaign type (CPC vs. CPM, for example), and various other high-level preferences.

The Ad Set Level

A single ad set can contain multiple individual ads. At the ad set level, you can segment and select audiences to show your ads to, choose your ad locations, set budget and delivery options, and even control where and when specific ads are shown. 

The Ad Level

Every ad exists within a specific ad set, and every ad set exists within a specific campaign. At the ad level, you control your ads themselves—what they look like, what they say, where they link to (if anywhere), and the other elements of your creative.

When executed correctly, the structure of your campaign will look something like this:

How to Set Up Facebook Ads

Now that you know the basics, let’s dive into the 5 steps of setting up your first campaign:

Step 1: Select Your Campaign Objective

When you’re ready to create your first campaign, go to Facebook’s Ads Manager and select “create” to get started. Facebook will ask you to select a marketing objective for your campaign. There are three categories to choose from: awareness, consideration, and conversion. 

If you’re looking to increase the number of form leads or phone calls from your website, we recommend selecting “Conversions” as your objective.

Step 2: Name Your Campaign

Once you’ve selected your objective, Facebook will ask you to choose a name for your campaign. It may not seem like a big deal now, but creating a consistent naming convention for your campaigns will help you stay organized as your account grows.

Your naming convention could include your campaign objective, the audience you’re targeting, or other key information. It’s entirely up to you, but it’s important to keep the naming convention consistent across all of your campaigns.

Step 3: Define Your Budget 

The final decision you need to make before building out your ad sets is to define your daily budget. The easiest way to do this is to choose a number you feel comfortable spending each month and work your way backward from there.

We recommend using the “Goldilocks” approach to defining your budget. You want to choose a number that won’t limit your reach (not too small) or cause you to waste money before you can optimize your campaign (not too high). Our data shows a monthly ad budget between $1,000 and $1,500 is a good place to start. 

Step 4: Create Your Ad Sets 

Once you have your campaign objective, name, and budget, Facebook will direct you to the ad set level. As we mentioned earlier, the ad set level enables you to segment and select your audiences, choose your ad locations, set your budget and delivery options, and control where and when specific ads are shown.

Step 5: Choose Your Creative

The final step in creating your Facebook Ads campaign is choosing the creative for the ad itself. The term “creative” is just a fancy way of describing the imagery and text used within the ad. Remember, Facebook is a highly visual platform, so it’s important to use images that are simple, beautiful, and not overrun with text. 

When choosing your creative, Facebook will also ask you to select the format you would like to use for your ad. There are three formats to choose from:

1. Carousel: Two or more scrollable images or videos in a single ad.

2. Single Image or Video: One image or video in a single ad.

3. Collection: A group of items that opens into a fullscreen mobile experience.

We recommend using a single image or video for your first campaign. 

Conclusion

Setting up Facebook Ads may be complex at first, but it’s well worth your time. Harnessed successfully, this platform can prove an extremely powerful marketing tool at any budget. Although there is a lot more to learn about Facebook Ads, with these basics, you’re ready to get advertising. Now go out there and sell some flooring!

Chapter 2: Social Media Tips for the Flooring Retailer

Social media is one of the most powerful tools a flooring retailer can leverage. Your social media page can tell your story, help you engage with potential customers, and—more than anything—set you apart from your competition.

But it’s true: many flooring retailers don’t use social media effectively. Worse, a bad social media campaign can actually alienate users and drive them away from your business.

It’s a tricky line to walk. That’s why today, we’re going to discuss some best practices for harnessing social media. Armed with these tips, your flooring store’s social media accounts will be flourishing in no time.

Tip #1: Don’t Sell—Just Share

Big-ticket purchases can be quite stressful for the average buyer. Flooring is no different. It’s a high-price-point item that many newer homeowners don’t have much experience with. 

That’s why you need to put your buyers at ease, especially younger and less-experienced buyers.

And that brings us to our first tip: on social media, you should never sell. Just share. 

Companies that use social media for sales purposes are not well received. Why? These platforms have become enormously popular because they allow people to connect and share like never before. But when you use social media to sell your products (or your company) you “betray” that idea. 

Instead of putting potential buyers at ease and connecting with them, you put them on guard. Ironically, this makes the average consumer less likely to form a positive impression of your brand.

It’s just a fact: companies that learn to interact with their buyers on a social level win them over more often. After all, selling flooring requires you to create a relationship built on trust between your customers and your company. Social media is a simple, proven, and cost-effective way to do that. 

So instead of selling, form relationships! Tell your story; interact with your customers; ask questions; give advice; share

Tip #2: Leverage Pictures and Videos

Written content is great, but remember to take advantage of your specific platform. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, for instance, are optimized for sharing images and videos. In fact, Facebook users watch over 100 million hours of videoper day.

So if you’re not regularly posting images and videos, you’re not leveraging your social media platforms correctly.

Like the old saying goes, “an image is worth a thousand words”. When that image is being viewed by thousands of people across numerous social media channels… well, let’s just say it becomes worth way more than just a thousand words.

Plus, pictures and videos are a great way to introduce yourself (and your store) to potential customers. Think of a TV character you love. You see their struggles, you know their quirks, and you root for them to succeed. It’s almost like they’re your friend.

Social media gives you the opportunity to be that character. When you put yourself out there on social media, you give users a way to connect with you. Pretty soon, without ever having met them in person, you’ve already created a trusting relationship with your followers. 

Don’t believe us? Just think of how much more comfortable you would be with someone who you’d seen and heard from many times than with someone you’d never met.

And don’t forget: successfully showing off home improvement requires a visual. The more you can show a consumer your products or impressive installations, the more you will inspire them, generate ideas, and distinguish yourself from other flooring companies. 

Tip #3: Always Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes

As hard as it is to hear, it needs to be said: customers care less about your company than they do about themselves. That’s not to say that they don’t care about you at all, because they definitely do. It just means that your posts should be geared toward your customers. 

One easy way to do this: rather than continually showcasing your products or promotions, show what customers are actually doing with those products! 

This type of post not only showcases your product itself; it also functions as an endorsement by an actual customer.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What kind of content would you be interested in seeing from a flooring retailer? Probably content that shows off aspects of the flooring world that’s relevant to you. Always keep that in the front of your mind when creating your social media strategy.

Tip #4: Keep Your Profiles Active

If a user ends up on one of your social media pages and sees that it has been unused for months, it sends a bad signal.

At best, it indicates that you don’t have enough time to focus on all aspects of your business, or that you don’t care about staying connected with your customers.

At worst, it signals that your store is closed, or in such a bad spot that you can’t dedicate even minimal resources to social media.

Either way, it’s not an ideal situation.

There are lots of easy ways to avoid this, even if you or your employees don’t have the time to do social media every day. Consider using a service to schedule posts in advance or using paid social media ads. If you don’t have time to do those either, we can help you out.

Tip #5: Have a Plan and Don’t Go Overboard

You should definitely build out some sort of social media schedule to prevent erratic posting, but make sure not to go overboard. You don’t have to post every day, but you should engage with social media at least once a week.

And remember: products and installations are the two most important things you can share to differentiate yourself and build trust in your company.

Conclusion

Consumers today are becoming more and more adept at researching products and the companies they do business with. Social media is a great avenue if you want to help your company to connect with new customers and communicate what makes your business special. 

And while having a great website is still the most important factor for generating new business, more and more retailers are building good websites. That means a really good social media presence is the best way to keep yourself ahead of the pack.

Chapter 3: How to Leverage Online Reviews For Your Flooring Business

If you’re involved in the flooring industry, you already know that competition from box stores and online retailers is at an all-time high. To be successful, you need to highlight the elements of your business that set you apart—your knowledge, passion, and amazing customer service. 

But what’s the most effective way to demonstrate these qualities to potential customers? There are many options, but one of the easiest to leverage is the power of online reviews. 

While you may not know it, online reviews can be a very powerful tool for demonstrating the value of your flooring business.

Online Reviews Have Never Been More Important

In this day and age, online reviews mean more than ever before. According to a recent study compiled by Qualtrics, a whopping 97% of consumers read reviews for local businesses before patronizing them. 

A full 91% of consumers between the ages of 18 to 34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Customers are even willing to spend 31% more at a business with excellent reviews.

While these numbers might seem quite high, think about it: would you go out to a restaurant without looking it up on Yelp first? Probably not. And that’s a relatively small-scale purchase! 

Just imagine how much more important online reviews are when it comes to a long-term, higher-price investment like new flooring.

Floors Are a Big Investment  

When you work in the flooring industry, it’s easy to forget that for many people, new floors represent a major purchase. Customers want to know they’re working with a reputable, client-oriented company. And as the statistics above show, the vast majority of them look to online reviews to find that company.

How to Leverage Online Reviews to Drive Sales

It goes without saying that you should always try to get your customers to leave reviews. But that’s easier said than done: on average, only 3-10% of flooring customers will take the time to write an online review. That means it’s very important to “chase down” reviews. This can be a time- and resource-intensive task, but the payoff is significant. 

Follow Up (and Be Diligent)

Many flooring businesses send their installers to job sites with customer satisfaction cards. If you already do this, great—you should continue to have your customers fill these out. However, it’s pivotal to follow up with your clients even after their satisfaction cards have been completed. 

This won’t just increase your chances of getting an online review; it will demonstrate your commitment to your customers and encourage repeat business. 

If you’re not able to connect with a customer immediately, be diligent. Use different methods of communication. There’s no harm in calling, emailing, or even texting to follow up on a client’s feedback. 

Of course, there’s a thin line between being diligent and being a pest. Just remember: your main concern is making sure your client is happy with their experience. That includes follow-up communication, too.

Use Personal Touches

Never use prefabricated email templates or stock text messages. Include details, be personable, and be honest—otherwise, your request for feedback can easily feel like spam.

If you have the time to call your clients personally, that’s great! If not, have someone else do it. A human touch goes a long way.

Don’t Delete Negative Reviews

Resist the urge to delete any negative reviews you may receive, even if they were left by mistake. This helps build trust in your brand. To prospective customers, it demonstrates that your reviews—positive and negative—are legitimate, honest, and unfiltered. An accurate picture of your company is appreciated more than an edited one.

Respond to Every Single Review

By responding to each and every review, you’re showing prospective clients that you care about your customers even after they’ve patronized your company. What could possibly set you apart from the box stores more? 

Again: it’s important to respond personally to each review. You should never use a prefabricated template, as this comes off as impersonal and corporate, which may actually undermine your efforts.

Make Sure Your Reviews Are on Your Website

One of the most common mistakes businesses make when dealing with online reviews is failing to centralize them on their own websites. 

If your business has a strong online presence (and it should), you probably have a website, a Yelp page, a Facebook page, and maybe even a FlooringStores page. The chance of a potential customer taking the time to crawl through each of these sites to find all of your reviews is quite small. And that’s a shame, because you want potential customers to see your reviews!

Additionally, most potential customers—especially those who were referred to your business—will navigate straight to your website before they go anywhere else. You don’t want them to have to leave your site in order to hunt down reviews. You want them to see your reviews on your site.

If you work with a design team, it’s relatively easy to link your Yelp and Facebook reviews pages to your website. Some all-in-one digital marketing agencies (like Broadlume) can even aggregate your reviews and display them on your webpage automatically. Whatever the case, it’s an important feature to consider.

Conclusion

In this day and age, it’s imperative to leverage online reviews if you want to help your flooring business succeed. We hope this has shown you why. Now that you have the basics down, go out there and start using your online reviews to drive leads!

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